Are you the person who researches, plans, and invites others to join you in the adventures in your life? Or are you the person who fills their schedule with the plans other’s have constructed and invited you to join in on? I’m the first, and Scott is the second. It has made for a well balanced relationship so far, and I’m grateful to have someone willing to follow me and my crazy ideas. Not that he doesn’t have great ideas, he really does, I just usually am thinking of them far before it crosses his mind to consider any. As much as I enjoy researching fun things to do, I’m terrible at committing to one. I like to “go with the flow” and always have a handful of ideas in my back pocket, just waiting for one to become super clear to me as “the one”. This use to drive Scott mad (and still kind of does) but now he almost expects it – which is a huge plus for me, because I’ve tried, but I can’t seem to change this trait of mine. I always like to see how we feel in the moment and go with our gut rather than do something for the sake of “the plan” (yuck, I just got bummed out even writing that, “the sake of the plan” – how uninspiring!). Which is probably why we have lived in three states in three years, been on about a dozen unplanned adventures, and why our loosely (to me) “planned” trip into the Rockies this past weekend turned into one in Wyoming.
WYOMING. Have you been? It’s laced with the greenest fields I’ve ever seen. The mixture of rolling hills and flat plains have my heart, but even the mountains lure me in – such as at Curt Gowdy State Park. Which is where we went this past weekend instead of the Rockies. The day before our trip I looked at Scott and said “Everyone and their grandma is going to be in the Rockies this weekend. Lets go to Wyoming,” and he responded with that of course look. As if he should not have expected anything less. But at the same time he was totally down and thought it sounded rad. I showed him a few pictures of Curt Gowdy and he was sold. Truth be told, I found out about this gem of a state park the old fashion way. I pulled out a map. (Yeah the one printed on a huge sheet of paper, they still exist!) I looked just north of the border of Colorado, into Wyoming territory, and picked the first patch of green that had “park” labeled on it and decided “that’s the one!” – and BOY was it! Scott and I’s jaws dropped as we drove into that magnificent piece of hidden beauty in the hills, and we were crushed when we found out all the camping was full. But no matter, we knew we’d be back for a spot on one of it’s lakes, and spent the day exploring it’s beautiful land gladly. (See pictures from our trip here.)
Packing food for a trip has got to be one of my favorite things to do. I love preparing all of the elements down to the last morsel for a snack. My goal is always the same – for us to be happy and healthy the entire trip. Which is why you will find no processed foods in our packs. Instead you’ll find homemade protein and granola bars, citrus (grapefruit for me + oranges for Scott), grapes, dried fruit, nuts, grain + legume salads, water, and all the fixings for a good cup of coffee (and s’mores duh but with Dandies vegan marshmallows, high quality dark chocolate bars, and these granola grahams to keep them wholesome). Granted we are car campers, and usually have a small cooler with some ice packs, which makes many of the foods we bring an option. But I’m stoked for the day we can afford backpacking gear and I’ll have a new challenge to prepare food for those light-weight fueled endeavors.
Today I bring you one of my go-to recipes for a hearty and energizing granola bar that will fuel you even during a grueling mountain hike. Hence the name “mountain bars”. Plus a refreshing cold brew mango black ice tea to pull out of the cooler for a refresh during your day of exploring. Or to pull out while you’re road-tripping in the car, and I would imagine these would both brighten your fifteen minute break at work as well. Just saying. Let’s SNACK.
TRAIL MIX MOUNTAIN BARS
Makes 8 bars.
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup hulled white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
1/3 cup dried apricots (chopped into 1/4 inch pieces)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir well. In a smaller bowl, combine the syrups and almond butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir well using a fork until completely mixed throughout. Transfer to a 9×5 inch loaf pan and firmly press evenly on the top using a spatula. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours to set. Slice into 8 squares and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to consume, or pack for a trip.
COLD BREW MANGO BLACK ICE TEA
Makes 1 serving – multiply the recipe by however many servings needed.
1 teabag of black tea
1 to 2 slices dried mango (organic and unsweetened)
12 ounces of filtered water
Combine the tea bag and dried mango in a jar and fill with the filtered water. Seal the jar and place it in the refrigerator to cold brew for at least 24 hours. Remove the tea bag and mango, and enjoy right away or seal and refrigerate until ready to consume (or pack in a cooler for a road trip).